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Aiight, first things first, go and get a book on reading shematics and basic electronics from your local library, spend a few weeks reading it, once you get the hang of it and start understanding the schematics, try figuring out why they do what they do.
Then when all is said and done and you can figure out some basic schematics and have started sketching down some drawings and have some ideas, search online for a few schematic archives (Try Here). Then when you have a sizable collection, find an electronics catalog, I have Newark, it's got about 2K pages of parts with different manufacturers so you can find the best price on the parts you need (that sounded like a plug didn't it ?), then order the parts you need (I would suggest starting out with a basic breadboard for prototyping, probably one around $30-50) and start tinkering, but don't stop there, putting the parts together is one thing, start tweaking it, experiment, that's where the fun is, I mean making a LED torch out of a 250 Mcd LED is one thing, but tweaking it and making one out of a 2000 Mcd LED is way sweeter.
Also, You will break parts, I don't care how good you are, you're gonna break quite a few, especially LED's I've broken at least 15 of them myself, I've made a few of my creations smoke, I've taken out all the lighting in an entire floor of my house when I accidentally switched the polarity of the wires (positive to negative and negative to positive instead of positive to positive and negative to negative), I've totally fried $100 projects because I goofed, and I'm sure everyone here can tell you they've broken their fare share of parts, and it's always at the final stage, where they're just about to finish, they accidentally get the soldering iron too far from the wiring and melt some of the PCB, they grab the wrong end of a soldering iron and have a weeks worth of healing after they peel the iron off their hand, or they pop a chip, or they cut a wire too short, or they break a case, or crack a board, or short a capacitor and fry everything.
Fret not, it's frustrating, and it may make you want to throw the closest heavy object, but it will happen, no matter how careful you are.
I'd say invest in a few bundle packs, not from radio shack, and especially not capacitors, because I made this mistake and got a bundle pack not too long ago of 100 or so (I need quite a few for my projects), and none were labled, so now I've gotta get a multimeter with a capacitance meter function (which means I'll be shelling out like $80) if I want to use those parts.
I'd say definately get a bundle pack of LED's (You can get 80 in a bundle for $2.49 from Electronics Goldmine, but about 1/8 are bad in the bulk package they recieved, so I'd be careful on this one, or you can get their 50 bundle for the same price, all working) Resistors (These are easy to ID, so no worries about buying any special equipment for these), Switches, and Pushbuttons.
Also I'd look into making your own PCB's just about everyone does it, but some schematics can get really complex, and if they're way over your head there's a few companies out there that'll make them for you, but at a price.
I'd also suggest finding a rack, or tool box, or some storage equipment for all your parts, cause unless you buy them in exact quantities, you're gonna have a lot of left over parts and you don't want to do this *Walk walk walk... crunch...* "Oh so that's where that IC went"
have to agree with nearly every thing that Nostrafus has said except about the capacitors. some places you can get capacitors that are fully marked etc. btw Nostrafus with the capacitors that you got was there any writing at all on them? if there was it may lead to finding the capacitance. also sometimes capacitors are marked like resistors with the colour bands.
I also have to agree with the fact that the best place to gain electronic components from are old techno scrap. in my short lived expirience of pulling things apart i have come accross a few good things. I have gotten a serial eprom, leds, resistors and most importantly push button switches.
hope you have fun in this very exciting world of electronics!!!